Click to learn more about author Neha Gupta.
If you ask, “Will AI take over jobs in the future?” to a group of people around you, you will likely get different opinions. Some may say that “no, AI will make our work easier” and others may say that “yes, we will surely lose our jobs.” It’s a debatable topic and has been a mystery for a very long time. But as COVID-19 has hit the world, a lot of things have changed in our lifestyles, businesses, and economy as a whole. Artificial intelligence is no exception – and is teaching us its importance in several ways, as it is being used by different industries such as retail, health care, telecommunication, agriculture, and construction for a variety of purposes.
Let’s Get into the Basics
To paraphrase Ian Ferguson at Lynx Software Technologies, robots have a unique strength that humans can never beat. For example, robots can be programmed to be strong, precise, and fast, and they also lack emotions, so they will never be bored. But there are many qualities that a robot can never replace, such as “humanness” (emotions). Various jobs require the five senses of humans – sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch – to do them perfectly. For example, teaching: Imagine how would it feel like to be taught by robots? Robots may give you quick, personalized, and vast information, but that “humanness” will still be required to connect with the students deeply.
Another example is of judges and lawyers. Robots can memorize all the articles, rules, and acts, but when it comes to judgment, judges use a mix of emotions and logic when announcing the verdict. Likewise, lawyers use both emotions and logic (facts) to put their case forward in front of the judge.
How Has COVID-19 Impacted the Artificial Intelligence Market?
COVID-19 has positively affected the artificial intelligence market. According to our company’s latest report, the market size of global artificial intelligence was $62.35 billion in 2020 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 40.2% from 2021 to 2028. This growth is driven by continuous investment in research and development (R&D) of artificial intelligence by tech giants like Apple, Facebook, Google, etc.
With the continuous R&D going on, new ways are evolving where artificial intelligence can be used for the benefit of humans. For example, in April 2020, Google launched an AI-enabled chatbot called Rapid Response Virtual Agent for call centers. This chatbot is built to respond to the COVID-19-related issues of customers over voice, chat, and other social channels.
Let’s look at some more examples where AI has proved to be a boon during COVID-19.
With all its employees working remotely, the Adecco Group has implemented DocuSign that assists its employees in hiring and payroll. Before COVID-19, these tasks could only be possible at the office.
Zoom, the video-conferencing app, has grown daily meeting participants from 10 million to over 300 million during COVID-19. This could be possible primarily due to the remote work that pushed employees and businesspeople to conduct meetings online. What’s more, there’s been a huge increase in the use of the Zoom application for other means, such as online teaching and personal meetings.
Walmart, America’s biggest retailer, is using robots to scrub the floors. Not only that: In South Korea, robots are being used to measure the temperature and distribute hand sanitizers.
Many businesses are also investing in ultraviolet-light-disinfection robots to clean and sanitize workspaces, especially in China and Europe. Fast-food chains like McDonald’s are testing robots as cooks and servers.
These are just a few examples, but if we look around, we will see how artificial intelligence has taken over many of the jobs done by humans to maintain social distancing, especially in the health care industry.
According to a recent World Economic Forum report, robots, automation, and artificial intelligence could replace 85 million jobs globally by 2025. However, it will also create 97 million new jobs in the future.
Looking at the negative aspects of AI, then, there have been many cases of data breaches in the past, such as when Zoom reportedly sent their data to China and their users’ video calls were leaked online. And let’s not forget the famous Facebook/Cambridge Analytica data scandal.
After carefully analyzing all the facts and figures, it is still unclear how we will ensure data security in the future. But what is clear is that while artificial intelligence will supplant many jobs, it will also create many others, and some jobs will be done by both robots and humans co-dependently.